Is this email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.

October 2013 OPHI e-Update

Welcome to the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative’s regular email update of announcements, opportunities and new publications. If you have any problems viewing this email, you can read it online here:


Multidimensional poverty measurement post-2015: Special event at the UN
The Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network, of which OPHI is the Secretariat, held a special side-event to coincide with the High Level Meetings of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly. Ministers from Colombia, Mexico, Chile, the Philippines, Nigeria and Germany, along with representatives of the World Bank, UNDP, OECD and OPHI, called upon the UN to adopt a new multidimensional poverty index (MPI) 2015+ to track progress toward the development goals adopted after 2015. Speakers were united in their calls for more and better data, and shared concrete ways in which national MPIs, with indicators that reflect national plans and country priorities, are being used for policy coordination, targeting, monitoring, and making visible real progress that income poverty measures overlook. You can watch a webcast of the event; read the call to action and highlights of the discussion; see a report by the Guardian, and much more. [MPPN side-event at the UN General Assembly]

MPPN news: the Philippines, Vietnam and El Salvador, plus new resources
Following the side-event at the UN, the Socioeconomic Planning Secretary for the Philippines issued a statement saying that multidimensional poverty measures should be included in the menu of performance indicators for the post-2015 development agenda. Arsenio Balisacan said multidimensional poverty measures should be considered as an extremely useful complement to income poverty measures.

Previously, policymakers from Mexico and Brazil joined members of Vietnam’s National Assembly and the UN’s Development Programme (UNDP) at a seminar in Hanoi on 14 September to discuss multidimensional approaches to setting poverty reduction targets and drafting social welfare policies. Vietnam’s Vice-Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Nguyen Trong Dam, announced in June 2013 that Vietnam planned to adopt a multidimensional framework for measuring poverty.

Elsewhere, Alexander Segovia, the Technical Secretary to the President of El Salvador, confirmed the commitment of the Salvadoran government to adopting a multidimensional poverty measure within the next nine months. Segovia made the announcement during a visit by OPHI Director Sabina Alkire and Co-Founder and Research Associate John Hammock, who presented to the National Technical Council, which is responsible for developing the Salvadoran measure.

You can now watch video recordings and download presentations from all the public events held to launch the MPPN in Oxford on 6-7 June 2013. Launch events included a Policy Symposium and a series of roundtables on national and subnational applications of multidimensional measures; the agenda, podcasts and presentations are all available online, along with the speech made by President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia to formally launch the network. [Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network]

Summer school materials available online in English and Spanish
Materials from two courses run by OPHI during the summer are now available online, including presentations, readings, exercises and more. The English-language Summer School on Multidimensional Poverty Analysis took place in July at George Washington University's Institute for International Economic Policy in Washington DC, USA, while the Spanish-language training course in September was hosted by the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua, Nicaragua. Both courses provided a thorough conceptual and technical introduction to techniques of measuring multidimensional poverty, with a strong emphasis on the Alkire Foster method. [ OPHI short courses and materials ]

OPHI collects data on Social Isolation in South Africa and Mozambique
An OPHI team was in Mozambique and South Africa from 24 July to 17 August 2013 to carry out fieldwork on Social Isolation as part of our research on the Missing Dimensions of poverty. Scholar in Residence Kim Samuel and OPHI researchers Diego Zavaleta and China Mills carried out interviews and focus group discussions with communities in Soweto and Grabouw (South Africa) and Xai Xai and Chibuto (Mozambique). The team will return later in the year to conduct a second tier of fieldwork. The data from both sets of interviews will be forthcoming in an OPHI Research in Progress publication, and will be used to revise the survey module on Social Isolation developed by the team.
Social Isolation fieldwork in South Africa and Mozambique ]

National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Canada, gives a talk in Oxford
Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Canada, spoke at a seminar held by OPHI in Oxford on 9 October. Atleo addressed priority issues facing Indigenous nations in Canada, from education to resource development and the enduring requirement for recognition and affirmation of relationships to achieve fairness, justice and harmony. You can listen to a podcast of his talk here. This event was held in connection with OPHI’s work on Social Isolation, part of our research into the Missing Dimensions of poverty (see story above). [ National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations seminar ]

OPHI gives a workshop at the Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia
A delegation from OPHI visited the Islamic Development Bank’s (IDB) headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in conjunction with the ‘International Day for the Eradication of Poverty’. On 1 October, OPHI Director Sabina Alkire, Co-founder and Research Associate John Hammock and Research Officer Ana Vaz gave a ‘Town Hall’ session titled ‘Multidimensional Poverty Index: Implications for IDB Member Countries’. This was followed by a two-day workshop on ‘Multidimensional Poverty: Measurement and Eradication’ on 2-3 October. The events were organised by the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), the poverty alleviation arm of the IDB. [ IDB workshop ]

Alkire takes part in live Q&A for Guardian Global Development
OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire was on an expert panel for a live Q&A titled ‘Can we trust the UN to end global poverty?’ on the Guardian Global Development website on 25 September. Key messages to emerge were that the UN alone cannot eradicate poverty, and more national responsibility is needed in meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Also on the panel were Tony German, executive director of Development Initiatives; Farah Mihlar, South Asia expert for Minority Rights Group; and Liz Ford, deputy editor of the Guardian’s Global Development website. You can read the questions and answers posted in full here. [ Alkire Guardian Q&A ]

OPHI researchers present papers at ECINEQ conference in Italy
OPHI researchers presented a number of papers at a conference held by the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality (ECINEQ) in Bari, Italy on 22-24 July 2013. OPHI Research Officer Mauricio Apablaza and Research Associate Gaston Yalonetzky presented ‘Measuring Chronic Multidimensional Poverty: A counting approach’, a paper written jointly with Sabina Alkire and Satya Chakravarty. OPHI Research Officer José Manuel Roche and Research Associate Maria Emma Santos presented ‘In search of a multidimensional poverty index for Latin America’, while OPHI Research Officer Suman Seth presented ‘Analysis of Inequality across the Multidimensionally Poor and across Population Subgroups for Counting Approaches’. During the conference, a meeting of the ECINEQ General Assembly elected four new members to its Council, including OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire. [ ECINEQ conference ]

OPHI gives lunchtime seminar at the World Bank, Washington D.C.
OPHI’s Sabina Alkire, José Manuel Roche and Maria Emma Santos gave a seminar at the World Bank’s Poverty and Inequality Measurement and Analysis Practice Group (PIMA PG) in July. The researchers gave a lunchtime talk on ‘Multidimensional Poverty Measures over Time’, a presentation of the analyses in the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) briefing 'How Multidimensional Poverty Went Down: Dynamics and Comparisons', with a special focus on India. The seminar was attended by around 50 World Bank staff, mostly researchers, and an audio feed was broadcast internally. [ Seminar at World Bank ]

Alkire op-ed on India’s National Food Security Bill published in The Hindu
OPHI Director Sabina Alkire described the charge of many critics that India’s National Food Security Bill (NFSB) is excessive as ‘exceedingly strange’ in an opinion piece published by The Hindu in July. In ‘This bill won’t eat your money’, Alkire argued that expenditure on providing food security would add minimally to public spending, and compared India’s fiscal priorities with those of other countries in Asia, where governments across the political spectrum invest more in social protection. She concluded: ‘India has a higher proportion of stunted children than nearly any other country on earth, yet spends half the proportion of GDP that lower middle income Asian countries spend on social protection and less than one-fifth of what high income countries in Asia spend.’ The Indian parliament passed the landmark National Food Security Act 2013 on 2 September 2013. [ NFSB won’t eat your money ]

James Foster publishes blog responding to Amartya Sen’s critics
OPHI Research Associate James Foster published a blog in response to an article by economist Arvind Subramanian in India’s Business Standard titled ‘The Economic Consequences of Professor Amartya Sen’. Foster, who is Professor of Economics and International Affairs and Director of the Institute for International Economic Policy at The George Washington University, posted the blog ‘Sen and his Critics: The Momentous and the Inconsequential’, on Oxford University’s Department for International Development ‘Debating Development’ website. Subramanian’s article is short on causal evidence, Foster writes, and the author displays a ‘vivid lack of comprehension of Sen’s work’. The exchange followed the launch of ‘An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions’ by Sen and Jean Drèze, which was published in July to widespread acclaim. [ James Foster blog on Amartya Sen ]

OPHI’s work continues to attract media coverage over the summer
OPHI’s work has continued to feature in media around the world over the past few months. In addition to the Guardian’s coverage of the MPPN side-event at the UN, the Economist featured OPHI’s work in an article on eradicating poverty titled ‘Growth or safety net?’. An article by Sabina Alkire was published in Outreach, a magazine produced by the Stakeholder Forum at international meetings including the UN General Assembly in New York, and an interview with her on poverty measurement and data was published on, the Canadian International Council’s (CIC) digital media platform. A speech by OPHI summer school graduate Edwin St. Catherine, Director of Statistics at St Lucia’s Central Statistical Office, calling for multidimensional poverty measures in the Caribbean, featured in Grenadian newspaper the Barnacle; and interviews with Alkire on multidimensional poverty were published by both La Prensa in Nicaragua and La Prensa in El Salvador. [ OPHI in the media ]


Lunchtime Seminar Series for Michaelmas Term gets underway
OPHI’s lunchtime seminar series began again on 17 October with ‘An Introduction to the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative’, a talk by OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire, Researchers China Mills and Suman Seth, and Research Communications Officer Emma Feeny. Seminars will be held every Thursday at noon for eight weeks, and will cover multidimensional poverty measurement techniques and their application in contexts including Pakistan, Ethiopia and India. The term will end with a seminar by Mills on social isolation, part of the Missing Dimensions of poverty programme. The seminars are held from 12-1pm in Seminar Room 3, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB. Everyone is welcome, and a complimentary sandwich lunch is available on a first come, first served basis. For the full listings, please see the Seminar Series page on our website.
Lunchtime seminar series ]


Gender Inequality in Multidimensional Welfare Deprivation in West Africa
OPHI Working Paper 64, by Akoété Ega Agbodji, Yélé Maweki Batana and Dénis Ouedraogo, employs a counting approach to examine gender issues in Burkina Faso and Togo using household surveys. Focusing on six dimensions (housing, basic utilities, assets, education, employment and access to credit), the main findings of the study indicate that, overall, individuals are most deprived in education in Burkina Faso, while the reverse situation is true in Togo. Gender inequality is observed in all. There is also a positive correlation between multidimensional deprivation and women’s ages in Burkina Faso, whereas by contrast both measures seem to be uncorrelated in Togo. You can read ‘Gender Inequality in Multidimensional Welfare Deprivation in West Africa: The Case of Burkina Faso and Togo’ in full here. [OPHI Working Paper 64 ]

A Counting MPI in Public Policy Context: the case of Colombia
OPHI Working Paper 62, by Roberto Carlos Angulo Salazar, Beatriz Yadira Díaz and Renata Pardo Pinzón, presents the Colombian Multidimensional Poverty Index (CMPI), an index based on the Alkire Foster method. The CMPI has five dimensions (education of household members, childhood and youth conditions, health, employment and access to household utilities and living conditions) and uses a nested weighting structure, where each dimension is equally weighted, as is each indicator within each dimension. The paper proposes using the CMPI to track multiple deprivations across the national territory; to monitor public policies by sector; and to design poverty reduction goals. Analysis of the results demonstrates that multidimensional poverty in Colombia decreased between 1997 and 2010. You can read ‘A Counting Multidimensional Poverty Index in Public Policy Context: the case of Colombia’ in full here. [OPHI Working Paper 62]

‘Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index’ published in World Development
OPHI Working Paper 58, ‘The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index’, has been published online in World Development journal. The paper describes the WEAI, a new survey-based index designed to measure the empowerment, agency, and inclusion of women in the agricultural sector. It was written by OPHI’s Sabina Alkire and Ana Vaz together with Ruth Meinzen-Dick and Agnes R. Quisumbing of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Amber Peterman of the University of North Carolina, and Greg Seymour of the American University in Washington D.C. The WEAI is an aggregate index, reported at the country or regional level, based on individual-level data collected by interviewing men and women within the same households. This technical paper documents the development of the WEAI and presents pilot data from Bangladesh, Guatemala, and Uganda. It will be published in World Development Vol. 52, December 2013, pages 71-91, and can be read in the journal online here. You can read the working paper here, and find out more about the WEAI on our policy pages here. [ The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index ]

Policy briefing: Multidimensional poverty measures using the AF method
Multidimensional poverty measures complement traditional one-dimensional indices such as income measures. The Alkire Foster method can be used to create global and national multidimensional poverty measures with context-specific dimensions and indicators. A new briefing, available here, explains the advantages of using the AF method to create measures that provide policymakers with powerful tools for poverty monitoring and policy design. [ Policy briefing: the Alkire Foster method ]

Briefing on multidimensional poverty post-2015 published in Development
The OPHI Briefing ‘Multidimensional Poverty and the Post-2015 MDGs’ has been published online as an article in Development journal. Written by OPHI Director Sabina Alkire and Research Associate Andy Sumner, who co-directs the King’s International Development Institute at King’s College London, the paper advocates the use of a global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) known as the MPI 2.0, or MPI2015+, for the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). MPI2015+ would serve as a headline indicator of poverty that can reflect participatory inputs, and can be easily disaggregated. The indicator would provide an intuitive, accessible measure of multidimensional poverty (comprising dimensions such as health, education, and standard of living) to complement the income-based approach to poverty exemplified by the World Bank’s $1.25/day standard. The use of a multidimensional poverty measure in the post-2015 context was the focus of a side-event held at this year’s 68th UN General Assembly (see top story). You can read the briefing in Development, issue 56(1), 46–51, 2013. [ Post-2015 briefing ]

Journal publishes paper on OPHI’s Missing Dimensions dataset on Chile
A paper analysing data collected in Chile as part of OPHI’s Missing Dimensions programme has been published in the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice. The paper, by OPHI Research Associate Maria Emma Santos and Emma Samman, Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute, explores how poverty status and transitions in and out of poverty contributed to life satisfaction in the late 2000s. Using OPHI’s dataset for 2006 and 2009, the authors find that income gains did not appreciably affect the satisfaction of the poor while they remained below the poverty line. The ‘Missing Dimensions of Poverty’ dataset collected in Chile is the first nationally representative survey to include the five OPHI modules: quality of work, empowerment, physical safety, social connectedness and psychological wellbeing. You can explore the dataset used in the paper here. [ Missing Dimensions of poverty in Chile ]


OPHI is delighted to announce that a number of former assistants and associates are now working with us full time:

Mihika Chatterjee, who holds an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford, joins us as a Researcher. She is working on the computation and analysis of the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), and applications in India. Mihika’s MPhil thesis explored India’s Public Distribution System and its effect on food security and child health in Koraput District, Odisha.

Adriana Conconi, who has been working with OPHI since 2011, now joins us as a Research Officer. Adriana, who taught at OPHI's summer school in Nicaragua, is doing policy outreach work and is also leading the team working on the computation and analysis of data for the Global MPI 2014.

Ana Vaz, co-author of ‘The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index’ (see ‘Publications’), is now a full-time Research Officer with OPHI. Ana is working on the analysis of the Global MPI over time, on impact evaluations using AF measures, and on measures of empowerment. She recently travelled to Saudi Arabia with OPHI to give a workshop on multidimensional poverty measurement (see ‘Highlights’).

OPHI appoints new Project Assistant as O’Mahony becomes Project Coordinator
OPHI has appointed a new Project Assistant, Natasha Francis. Natasha has worked in administration roles within the higher education sector for the past five years, and holds an MSc in Environment and Development. She takes over the role from Laura O’Mahony, who has become OPHI’s Project Coordinator.

Hammock becomes an affiliate at the Harvard Global Equity Initiative
OPHI Research Associate and Co-Founder John Hammock has been named a Senior Research Associate at the Harvard Global Equity Initiative (HGEI), an inter-faculty research programme at Harvard University devoted to promoting more equitable development, with a particular focus on the dimension of health.

OPHI is pleased to welcome a number of visiting academics during autumn/winter 2013:

Thomas Morgan, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), remains with us as a Visiting Fellow. The IEP is responsible for the Global Peace Index, a measure of peace at the nation-state level, and Thom will be analysing the cost of violence to the UK.

We are delighted that our longstanding policy advisor, Kim Samuel, remains with us as Scholar in Residence. Kim is working with our Missing Dimensions team to conduct research on social isolation as a critical experiential and measurable component of multidimensional poverty.


OPHI e-Updates aim to highlight key resources and information materials. We welcome your feedback and participation.

friend us on Facebook |follow us on Twitter

For general information and feedback, please contact us:

Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI)
Oxford Department of International Development
Queen Elizabeth House (QEH)
University of Oxford
Mansfield Road
Oxford OX1 3TB, UK
tel. +44 1865 271915

OPHI gratefully acknowledges support from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)/(DFID) Joint Scheme, Robertson Foundation, Praus, UNICEF N’Djamena Chad Country Office, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (GIZ), Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), John Fell Oxford University Press (OUP) Research Fund, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report Office, national UNDP and UNICEF offices, and private benefactors. International Development Research Council (IDRC) of Canada, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), UK Department of International Development (DFID), and AusAID are also recognised for their past support.

To unsubscribe or change email address, please use the form at: